There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Kelsey Ent | Event Coordinator

I’m originally from Woodstock, GA but now live in Charlotte, NC! Growing up my family and I were super close. There was a lot of laughter in my household, constant sleepovers with friends and a bunch of goofing around. Read more>>

Kevin Simmons | Speech Language Pathologist

I’m originally from Johns Creek, GA – born and raised. My parents always instilled in me good practices as I navigate this world as a Black man. One thing that I noticed in suburban ATL was the lack of diversity amongst my educators, speech therapists, medical professionals, and so forth. Read more>>

Deonté Bell | DJ & Sound Curator

Being a born & bred ATLien, I attribute my origins in this city to being a key factor in influencing my creative drive & truly, my overall personality. Growing up in this city during it’s musical hayday while seeing the likes of Outkast & the Dungeon Family, TLC, Jeezy, Ludacris, Father & the Awful Records crew, etc. Read more>>

Jacqueline James | Motivational Speaker

Born and raised by parents from a small country town with one light who decided to raise 8 kids in a big city now called home made childhood life a challenge. Read more>>

Jordan-Paige Sudduth | Screenwriter, Content Creator, & Actor

I grew up in Forsyth County in Georgia (about 40 minutes north of Atlanta) with my brother and parents. I’m extremely grateful to have had their support through everything I’ve chosen to do in my life, Read more>>

Jamese Nathan | Poet & Entrepreneur

I’m from Orlando, Fl the home of some of the greats like Vince Carter, Warren Sapp and Shaquille O’Neal. I was raised predominantly by a single father which definitely contributed to who I’ve become today. Read more>>

Marissa Ortiz | Motivational Speaker & Life Coach

I was born in New York and ended up moving to NC with my family around age 6. It was then when life really changed for me in a negative manner. I experienced much physical, mental, and later on sexual abuse. Read more>>

Cashflo Rizzy | Artist, Battlerapper & Writer

I am from Norfolk, VA. It is not a easy place to come up at all. It’s a small city and if you get to make it out, then you really defied the odds. My city has molded me into the woman I am today. Majority of my blood, sweat, and tears came from the work I put in, back home. Norfolk is where I laid down my foundation. Norfolk is the essence. Atl is apart of building my legacy. Read more>>

KingJamesV773 | Musician

I’m from Chicago, the greatest city in the world.. Chicago is one of the reasons why I am who am today. It taught me many things like being humble, tough, and how to survive. I use my Chicago mentality in my every day life and I’m quick to brag about where I’m from. Read more>>

Birgit Buchart | General Manager Lomography USA

I am from Austria and grew up in a small village in the mountains. As long as I can remember I wanted to escape and live in a big city. My parents taught me the importance of experience and memories over material things. Read more>>

Nicole Marshall | Children’s Book Author

I am from Kingston, Jamaica and I lived there for a little over 15 years. Being raised in Jamaica, I was brought up in a structured household with two hard working parents. I watched them everyday and would sometimes go with them to their trucking business in the mornings. Read more>>